Christmas Panic

I had a Christmas panic attack today.  It came when I found out I might need a root canal.  My reaction to it was out of out of proportion to the event.

Christmas has definitely been easier this year than it has been in the past, but my feelings of disconnection, guilt and anger have been lurking under the surface, looking for a place to manifest.   I’m hypersensitive,  vulnerable and defensive.

I worked at the Cambridge Co-op today.  I do that 3 and 3/4 hours once a month for a 15% discount and a connection to my community I wouldn’t otherwise have.   Of all the people I talked to, only two seemed happy about the holidays.

The days get dark and cold, I said to one of my co-workers, we get depressed and try to make ourselves feel better by having a celebration.

I was pretty low, but found my strength by walking in the woods and talking to Jon.  By getting out of my own head and into the community.

I’ve been meditating every night when I wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning.  A guided Yoga Nidra meditation.  It helps to rearrange my brain for a while.  Last night I dreamed of eating cake and ice cream, of smoking a cigar and blowing smoke rings. (the idea of smoking a cigar is nasty to me, but in my dream it was a good thing)  Of my cousin hanging sheets on a clothesline and saying the wind would blow them clean.

Yesterday and today, I hung lights on the house. Now it glows in the darkness.  A warm and welcoming place.  That doesn’t happen in the summer when it stays light till 9pm.  I close the curtain in the living room at night, not because I think someone might be looking in (there’s no one out  there except the animals) but because the dark windows look hard and cold.  Curtains soften the room.  It’s a sweet place to be in the winter.

But still my energy drains.  My self-confidence plummets.  It becomes hard for me to make decisions or feel good about myself.

In my studio I undo the stitches from the fabric I sewed on my quilt yesterday.  I work all morning taking things apart and sewing them back together again.  When I leave my studio in the afternoon, I feel good about what I’ve done.  I believe the quilt looks better than it did in the morning.

My art always brings me back to myself.  Reminds me who I really am.

Every year I work at making the holidays better. Every year I get a little closer.

13 thoughts on “Christmas Panic

  1. Oh, Maria, so sorry this time of year is so hard. I used to sweat the holidays starting around September with the dread you describe. Now that my parents are dead it so much easier. Still, I feel as if the whole country is under mass hypnosis this time of year. I work pt at a big box hardware store and have been looking at poinsettias since the second week of Oct. Yuck. Christmas is out of control. I don’t celebrate anymore.

    I also teach yoga and you are so right about yoga nidra. Pranayama helps as well in the middle of the night. Viloma 2 or the four breath can help you get back to sleep and restore calm.

  2. Your quilts are beautiful! You are a greatly talented artist!
    Be happy and confident…flourish in the New Year!
    Thank you for sharing your art & words…

  3. I’m with you, Maria, Christmas is something to be gotten through and something I’m mindful of trying not to spoil for others with my negative comments. I just say now, we’re older, Christmases are quieter. But what I do to brighten the dark days for ours are like yours, we’re pretty much parallel to you in location, is to go back into the fields early November and cut a fir tree which we put up outside our sliding glass door in the family room. It’s adorned with tiny white lights on a timer, to come on at dusk and go off at 11 pm. I have a bird feeder nestled in it’s branches and a suet cage which the squirrels usually find and take off with to wherever. Inside I decorate our railing to the upstairs with a fake garland of fir, wrapping tiny white lights in amongst it. The tree stays put until April when we can get it out into the field again for animals to nest in, the railing decorations stay till late Feb. as the days slowly lighten up. I loved your lights outside, the old farmhouse has a warmth to it now. I don’t celebrate Christmas, I tolerate it and use it as an excuse to brighten the dark days of winter.
    SandyP in S.Ont.Can.

  4. I hate tearing out stitches on the sewing I do… It angers me greatly. I recently completed a very small (compared to your work) job of sewing 24 different fabric bags for a book advent calendar for my grandson. I made a mistake on one of the last bags and was very tempted to leave it as it was. I struggled internally with myself for almost 24 hours. When I got home from work that night, I ripped out the mistake and fixed it. It felt healing. As a recovering alcoholic, writing this out as a reply to you, something just clicked. I need to rip out stitches in my life to feel better. Thank you!

    1. I’m not a church goer Cheryl. I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work for me. I am finding my own way though. I think it’s all each of us can do.

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